Margaret Whiting and Jack Wrangler oral history interview, March 31, 1995
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Scope and Contents
Interviewed by Chris Paton. During this lengthy interview, which took place on March 31, 1995, the conversation ranges widely over a variety of subjects and issues relating to Johnny Mercer's life and artistry. Whiting talks at some length of the early years of Capitol Records, discussing in particular her experiences as one of the first recording artists for the company. She talks about the studios that Capitol used, the other stars who recorded for the label, and the songs she recorded, especially "Moonlight in Vermont." Whiting and Wrangler comment extensively on Mercer's work habits and methods, and they mention his working relationships with his collaborators (including Harry Warren, Richard Whiting, Harold Arlen, and Henry Mancini). The conversation turns frequently to a discussion of Mercer's personal relationships, personality, and social life. Important topics include Mercer's leisure activities, the parties and dinners he attended, and his relationship with his wife, Ginger. They also mention briefly the memorial service held in Mercer's honor, and Ginger Mercer's life after her husband's death.
- Creation: March 31, 1995
Restrictions on Access
Available in Reading Room and online
Margaret Whiting (born 22 July 1924 in Detroit, Michigan), the daughter of songwriter Richard Whiting (1891-1938), was one of the first artists to be engaged by Capitol Records, where she began recording in 1942. Johnny Mercer played a major role in the development of her career as a singer. In the early 1940s her hits included "That Old Black Magic" (with Freddie Slack), "Moonlight in Vermont" (with Billy Butterfield), and "It Might As Well Be Spring" (with Paul Weston). Between 1946 and 1954 Whiting had more than forty solo hit tunes for Capitol. After stints with Dot Records and Verve Records, and a brief return to Capitol in the late fifties and early sixties, she recorded for the London label beginning in 1966. In recent years she served as President for the Johnny Mercer Foundation, and she continued her work as a performer of Mercer songs. In the late 1990s she appeared in the Broadway musical Dream (1997) and in the PBS broadcast The Songs of Johnny Mercer: Too Marvelous for Words (1997). Jack Wrangler (1946-2009) is the son of television producer Robert Stillman. After a career as a child star in the television series Faith of Our Children, he starred for many years in adult films. More recently he has had a successful career as a director. His recent credits include Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: The Concert and The Jazz Concert for New York's '95 Jazz Festival. In 1992 he was the recipient of the Bistro Award for Outstanding Director, and he was the co-conceiver of the 1997 Broadway musical Dream. He has been married to Margaret Whiting since 1994.
1 item(s) (transcript (63 pages))
Language of Materials
From the Collection: English